Launching and Executing a New Brand at HSN

Wendy Williams strategically executes four marketing tactics kicking off new brand launch


On February 11th, the official public announcement was made in WWD that Wendy Williams would have a collection of clothing debuting on March 28th on HSN and that my company would be the sole design and manufacturing resource to work with her on it.  I was excited to finally share all of my learning and insight from my 1 ½ years prior to this announcement of developing her signature brand. Check out my earlier article for details on the building of Wendy’s brand. In this article I want to share the excitement of the launch at HSN, what we learned from it, and how we can apply it for further success.

Here’s how it all started- part one : Behind the Scenes with Wendy Williams


Launching the brand- a look behind the scenes

Well, last Saturday on March 28th, Wendy Williams finally made her debut live on the HSN channel. Wendy was given 2 separate two hour time slots to host on that Saturday. The first was a 9 to 11AM slot with HSN host Callie Northagen and she knocked it out of the park. The same dynamic Wendy personality that you can see every weekday on her Wendy Williams daytime entertainment show came through and managed to help sell-out many of her items on the first morning segment.

Her second segment was from 6 to 8PM with HSN personality, Colleen Lopez and our concerns at this point later in the evening were that sales would be sluggish based on how picked over so many of the styles were in colors and sizing from the morning’s segment, but that did nothing to slow down evening sales….

HSN, Colleen Lopez and Wendy Williams            

Colleen Lopez and Wendy Williams at the evening segment of her HSN clothing launch.

My company’s president and management team were cordially invited down to the HSN headquarters in St Petersburg, Florida to take part in watching the debut of Wendy’s clothing launch and were given the choice of either sitting with the studio audience (all of the female audience members were given a signature Wendy Williams “wrap dress” to wear). This position gave good insight into what the viewers really liked or disliked by being able to hear the audience comments about the collection.

The second choice was to be seated in a “behind the scenes” viewing room watching 2 television monitors. One monitor showed the live taping of the show so we could hear and see everything happening between Wendy, the HSN host, her studio audience, and any conversations with live callers. The second televisions monitor located side by side to the first, showed live metric graphs of when sales or the amount of live calls would spike based on particular things that Wendy said or the likeability of certain styles that were shown.

This may not seem like the more exciting option, but in truth from a manufacturing and trend stand-point, it was great to be able to see the direct cause and effect relationship that Wendy was having with her viewers, it became apparent that when Wendy spoke favorably about certain garment attributes, her customers listened and responded by making a purchase.

 Wendy Williams' live studio audience                                           

Wendy’s live studio audience excited to watch her 9AM EST debut of her Spring 2015 clothing launch!


A Smart Business Woman Does Her Homework and Plans Accordingly

Making sure that all bases are covered for full media exposure


From the moment we first discussed the idea for Wendy to have a clothing line about 1 ½ years ago, Wendy had already been prepared for what the work load  would entail. She had previously been involved in a similar situation for another television based retailer. On that launch she had not had quite the same happy experience so this time around, she was taking it very slow, methodical, and planning out how to really capitalize on her fashion sense, fan base and exposure. Not only did she need to be involved in the product so that it felt very true to what she wears every day, but she needed to be able to commit to treating it like a priority. Wendy treated it like an extension of her already existent television brand, giving interviews and promoting it, and genuinely loving it. She and her team had done all the necessary homework so that from the moment it was officially announced that she had a line of clothing, she was off and running to give it as much exposure before the big March 28th debut date on HSN.

Next page: Wendy Williams executes four marketing tactics


Tina Trevino
Tina Trevino
Tina Trevino, Partner & Director of Community Relations for Latin Biz Today is President & CEO of Tocaya Design under which she does design consulting for major apparel companies as well as designs, manufactures and markets her women’s lifestyle brand, Tocaya. With 25 years of industry experience most recently as Design Director of KBL Group Intl. Ltd., she has managed large creative design teams. Trevino provides insight on upcoming fashion trends for each season collaborating with designers, merchants and product development teams to help develop brand appropriate apparel. She specializes in sweaters, knits and wovens. Having previously worked with private label brands for stores like Kohl’s, NY & Co, White House|Black Market, and Ann Taylor to name a few as well as brands like Lee jeans, Wendy Williams, Brooke Shields Timeless, Torn by Ronny Kobo, and Whitney Port, she has the ability to build brands from the design and merchandising process all the way through fitting, production, and marketing.

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